Sunday, May 31, 2009

DOMA & Same Sex Marriage

"Federal law requires states to recognize each others marriage licenses and drivers licenses. Why they don't have to recognize each others concealed weapons licenses is only because the 2nd hasn't been incorporated."

When someone I like and respect makes a statement sufficiently at variance with reality, it's HARDER to respond, because I can't trot out the usual snark in good conscience and I have to play nice.

Federal law, in the form of the questionably constitutional federal "Defense of Marriage Act" passed in 1996 specifically bars the federal government and its' agencies from any recognition of same-sex marriage in any of its' actions or rulings (in the second section). In the first section, it specifically exempts states, tribes, and subordinate jurisdictions from recognizing/honoring/acknowledging any same-sex marriage or relationship if the whim doesn't strike them.

Subsequently, various states have passed sundry forms of state level DOMA - while somewhat outdated (4 yrs) this site reviews the variety of bans out there, some more vicious, some less. Florida's, for instance, is particularly vile - not only barring same-sex marriages from being performed within the state, but barring recognition of such marriages performed in any other state or foreign jurisdiction as well.

Progress is being made (Washington's "everything but the name" statute this year is one example), but thus far neither the state nor the federal DOMA variants have made it to the Supreme Court of the United States where, with luck, the good justices will batter the silly about the head and shoulders with the "full faith and credit" clause (Section 1) of the United States Constitution - which the various DOMA implementations appear to defy rather directly.

But that time hasn't come yet. Currenly, to invalidate a Massachusetts (For example) same sex marriage, all one must do is gather all the valuables (not required, but par for the course when dealing with the overwrought) and move to Florida sans partner (and STAY there) - no federal or state penalty will incur. In the same mode, if a person falls in love abroad with a person of the same sex and marries them in, say, Sweden - La Migra will not recognize the marriage and will not admit the spouse.

Then we look at Prop. 8 and its' subsequent effects. Oy.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Proposition 8 and the California Supreme Ct

Let me clarify my position, before we get into the really controversial stuff. I *favor* same sex marriage. Should I find a candidate that agrees that such a plan is mutually worthwhile, I want one my very own self - but that's not (mostly) why I favor it.

For the same reason that the anti-miscegenation laws of the Jim Crow South were wrong (that at base, even before touching on the morality of racism, that the government (federal, state, county or municipal) has no business deciding which consenting adults beyond a reasonable degree of consanguinity get hitched with each other, bans on same sex marriage are wrong.

However, beyond that fundamental argument, such bans are counterproductive when subject to rational analysis. The very nature of the bans is counter to best rational interests of the state - not only do persons in legally defined long term relationships cost less in terms of taxpayer support over the years (married folks stay off medicare longer, two incomes stave off the need for assistance, etc.), they increase available pool of marriages and the revenue (direct and indirect) to the state attached to such marriages.

Beyond even that simple logic, in general wielding the public hammer of constitutional amendments and legal statutes to selectively discriminate against specific demographic with the avowed intent of denying the recognition of their equal worth before the law AND specifically denying them over 1000 rights and protections granted married couples at the federal and international levels (and some various rights at the state level, even with Domestic Partnership - marriage for 2nd class citizens) sets exceptionally bad precedent.

With all that said, the California Supreme Court - however much I may dislike its' policy effects - did good. They did their jobs, which is NOT to set moral or public policy, but rather to rule on points of Constitutional and statutory law.

The CSSC had before it two points:

1) Was Proposition 8 properly an amendment (simple modification) of the California State Constitution, or was it a mislabeled revision (a wholesale change, which requires a state constitutionall convention under California rules?

2) In the event that Proposition 8 was legally valid (moral is, as always, a different argument and not on appeal), what legal status do the 18,000+/- same sex marriages that occcured between the original CSSC decision and the passage of Proposition 8 have?

In the case of the first, it was, frankly a weak legal argument by members of the LGBT community that is best characterized as grasping desperately at straws after the barn has burned down. A shot in a million "gotta look busy while we regroup, and what the hell we might win, and it'll gin up the community" kind of appeal.

Anyone with any sort of interest in the law could detect that at thirty yards off or so, in a sad but true kind of way, and it's simply unfair to excoriate the Justices of the CSSC for doing their appointed job. Accurate targeting for protests, boycotts, and other lawful retaliation and protest is on pro-Prop 8 donors and advocates, including the presently-gloating Mormon church and its' membership.

The *SECOND* part of the decision was also hideously predictable. The marriages were lawful at the time they occured, and thus, remain lawful after Proposition 8 passed - in non-legal terms, "no, you don't get a do-over". Retroactive laws are, for good and solid reason, simply forbidden - and that would include any attempt to "un-do" the then-legal marriages.

There is plenty of reason for anger, but directing that anger at the Justices or at the legal system, is inappropriate. Once Proposition 8 passed, the system worked, and worked well, in a bad situation.

The argument of to what degree the terms of State and even Federal Constitutions should be modifiable by popular vote is entirely separate, and one of long standing, and not specific to either same sex marriage or LGBT rights generally.

Frankly, I think that both the legislature and the people should each have an extremely difficult mechanism to change constitutions that involves super-majorities, multi-year cooling off periods, and multiple votes - just to filter out the stupid, the bigoted, and the just plain wrong-headed. Additional precautions to keep either from going astray are negotiable.

Proposition 8 remains a wrong-headed piece of religous bigotry thinly disguised as an amendment to the California Constitution. But now all that remains to Californians is a repealing/modifying amendment, or, heaven forfend, a state constitutional convention.


Sunday, May 24, 2009


Had a moment, got the blog-links organized by alpha and added a few I'd been meaning to (or thought I had already!). Not a huge deal, but hopefully makes the linky-list easier to use.

On a different topic, the car sales thing is muddling along.

Best Wishes,


Thursday, May 21, 2009

The Mark of a Rat-Bastard

I've seen it before - a group of organizers threatening to stomp off over the horizon or force an event to be done "their way", and when nobody panics (and in fact someone steps forward to save the event) they do their level best to bully the community in question into compliance with either threats or actual bad acts to ruin said event - often using "trademark" as the baseball bat of choice to pummel their opponents.

In recent days I've observed, as a non-attendee semi-gun blogger, an unhappy post-script (in addition to the pre-event Registration tantrum) to the 2A Blog Bash. After a typically irreverent and generally positive podcast from ViciousCircle (the domain name SHOULD be a hint for the humor-impaired), a lengthy screed was posted that resulted in MANY comments.

(Oh? Broken link? We in the biz call that a "blatant act of cowardice in the face of disagreement" - you know, when the bulk of comments on your post logically dissent and dissect ones viewpoint, you proceed to act like an ass, and its easier to delete the entire post and comments than own up to ones errors and begin the necessary apologies and groveling).

And if y'all don't like I don't get the quotes exactly right, you shouldn't have been such a wuss and struck the post and comment thread - I'd have been happy to quote letter for letter, complete with links.

I initially commented on the blogpost in question with what I felt was a balanced, well-measured, contribution with a few gentle been-there, done-that hints. Then a line was crossed, and I pondered a bit...and this post emerged.

While there were PLENTY of errors, the most egregious, the one that persuaded me to write this post, was the vicious reply to PhlegmFatale's response offering to organize the 2010 Charottle 2A BlogBash (in the face of "Perhaps we just won't do this if folks don't like the exact way we do it" comment by one of the current organizers) displaying a level of selfish pettiness I rarely observe in the 2A Blogosphere (most folks involved are just too civilized) - an organizer replied with a variation on "I own the event name, you can't do it, screw you - I'll kill it before I'll let anyone else organize it".

This, to someone completely outside the dispute (phlegmmy), charitably offering to take over an event an organizer had just stated they were thinking about walking away from because it was *just too much trouble* and *people might not constantly lavish praise and refrain from all criticism*. If you can't take the heat, you have *no business* as an organizer.

A community event, to my view, belongs to the community - and one organizing group or another is permitted to do the event at said communities sufferance. Piss the given community off badly enough (or step aside), and a replacement organizer can and should spring up.

The 2A BlogBash is definitely a Community Event - that any one person or organizer volunteers to put it together (or help at it) is a fine/good/noble thing. But it does not imply any sort of moral ownership, and attempts to use trademark to bully others to prevent them creating/organizing successor or competitive events....reek of personal moral vileness, or one hell of an imitation thereof, in my opinion.

Playing "we own the name/concept" is nothing more and nothing less than the act of a bullying rat-bastard - and playing it with someone innocently stepping forward to pick up the slack right after you've flung your delicate wrist to your forehead and declaimed "It's just all too, too, much. You do not shower me with sufficient rose petals! You do not worship properly! I just can't bear it! Perhaps I should not do the event! See how you feel then, you ingrates!" is, if anything, worse.

I am not amused. I tend to expect better of folks in the 2A community, and have seldom been disappointed - and to some extent, thus the scale of my wrath.

I hope to visit the Charlotte 2010 NRA Convention, and hope there is a competing or successor 2A Blog Gathering with organizers not terminally thin-skinned, prone to precipitous and arbitrary action, and capable of respecting differing views and priorities. Ideally, organizers with a more positive attitude than "If you don't like the way we do it, y'all can just F*$k right off!"

This isn't the first time I've seen this kind of conduct, nor the first community I've observed it in. I note the vileness remains fairly constant.



Friday, May 15, 2009

Amazing Trends

I'm amazed at the winds of popularity surround fellow-blogger snarkybytes with his first dance video (here),

a significant improvement over the efforts of Chris Crocker, and his masterpiece, "Leave Brittany Alone"

Amazingly, this phenomena is also documented HERE! And HERE! And HERE!

Friday, May 1, 2009

Dull Rumblings of Federal Gun Control

Today I received a disturbing phone call, from the NRA of all places, regarding the advent of HR 45 and how it was an TEOTWAWKI Gun Licensing/Seizure/Ban Bill, and I needed to rush to open up my checkbook as fast as I could and empty my account into the coffers of the NRA in order to fight off this dreadful event.

I politely thanked the caller (several times, as they had substantial difficulty varying from their script) and cranked up the email client and browser.

I've found that if I contact folks over at the Second Amendment Foundation they tend to be more reality-driven and less focused on ginning up the fund-raising mill with a good round of panic-mongering. They seem to have wrapped their collective heads around the notion that if you scare the crud outta the constituency whenever the coffers are running a bit low, that it can be much harder to be trusted, credible, or believed when the proverbial roof really is falling.

I quote "It's dead in committee. Still has zero co-sponsors. It's all over the internet, and everyone is getting worked up about it, but it has maybe a 1% chance of moving. " from my SAF contact.

So, I think we can, for the moment, let our collective breath out. There's more to worry about with a rogue Legislative Special Session coming up than there is with HR45 - for the moment. It's a bad time to let our guard down, but let us focus our energies where they will do us the most good.